Norwich Students Conduct Field Study in Israel

Norwich Students Conduct Field Study in Israel

By Elizabeth Gregory ’19

In May, 10 students from varying disciplines and ROTC branches traveled to Israel to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thanks to a generous grant from the Olmsted Foundation. The Olmsted Foundation directly supports the immersion of future United States military leaders in the culture and people of other countries to afford them the opportunity to see the world through a wider lens. This field study was entirely planned and executed by the students under the guidance of Norwich University’s Peace & War Center Director, Dr. Travis Morris. The purpose of this field study was not only to understand this conflict from the ground level, but also to gain analytical, planning, and logistical skills.

This field study included interviews with government officials, ambassadors, and leaders from non-governmental organizations, as well as people on the streets and those living in refugee camps. Some of the stories heard on this trip were extremely powerful, but it was important to separate the emotion from these testimonies to figure out the truths of the situation. We found that there is no simple or immediate solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Students came to realize that there is much more to the conflict than can be gleaned from reports and books. Oftentimes there are many more elements to a problem than we initially see, and finding a solution takes more than the negotiation of numbers. Each side has vastly different viewpoints on what it will take to achieve peace and what is needed to rectify the injustices committed against them by the other side. This conflict has many unseen elements that make finding a solution immensely difficult.

Through this experience, the Norwich students expanded their global perspectives and cultural appreciation. Most importantly, they developed skills that will help them sort through floods of information and perspectives to form professional and culturally aware analyses, a skill that will be highly valuable in their futures as officers. Additionally, because of the diversity of the team across military services (one Marine Corps, two Air Force, six Army, and one newly commissioned Army Second Lieutenant), this study facilitated inter-branch cooperation.

There is no doubt that each student has changed as a result of this field study and it can confidently be said that each has gained tools that will make them a better leader and military officer.

For more information about this field study, please visit the Norwich University’s Peace and War Center website or Facebook page.

 

Students visit the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem. (from left to right) Dr. Travis Morris, Alexander Bowen ’18, Connor Wills ’18, Adam Schmitz ’19, Jack Dwyer ’18, Chase Bullen ’17, Will Schloo ’18, Liz Gregory ’19, Maria Trejo ’18, Garrett Louth ’19, G.T. Sandefur ’18.

 

Adam Schmitz ‘18 on top of Masada as the sun rises. Masada was built in 30 B.C. and was the site of the last stand made by the Jewish in the First Jewish-Roman war. All Israeli Defense Force soldiers take their oath on top of Masada with the last line of their oath being “Masada shall not fall again.”

 

Norwich Students meet with professors at the University of Haifa

 

FSPAC students visit a playground in Sderot designed to also function as a bomb shelter. Sderot is located in Western Israel near the border of the Gaza Strip.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save